As a self-employed person, the only fringe benefit I have is being able to wear whatever I want to work if I have no court appearance scheduled. But I understand the concept. A fringe benefit is something in addition to the primary intended compensation for effort.
When the dust settled on the 1990s, I found myself 75 pounds heavier than normal with grey, cracked skin. Somewhere, there is a Glamour Shot of me at 40, sassy, sexy, clear-skinned, with blue sequins and wild hair. That woman vanished with the onset of menopause, the reactivation of my very special virus, the development of asthma, and the ravages of the hypoxemia which resulted from undiagnosed and undetected hypercoagulability.
Through conscious effort, I shed that 75 pounds. My doctors have the asthma under control. Though the blood thinners defy accurate regulation, they work more or less as they should, and the fatigue of sludge blood has been kept at bay or at least, minimized. But until Valcyte, nothing had enabled me to reclaim that Irish paleness of which I had been so vain.
I realized, looking in the mirror this weekend, that my skin has changed. The cloudiness has retreated; the dryness abated; the old, tired look that has plagued me since the year of the Death and Dying picture — 1997 — no longer stamps my features. I believe this is caused by the new anti-viral regimen. In the past seven weeks, I have had two nights of eight hours’ consecutive sleep without using narcotics — unheard of! And my skin is clear!
I’m feeling hopeful. Small victories, but I’ll take ’em. And bear in mind, folks: The Stanford Medical team is COVERED BY MY BLUE CROSS-BLUE SHIELD. As is the fancy drug. For the price of my co-pays, I’ve moved light-years ahead — or maybe, I should say, the clock has been turned back to 1995, at least on the face that I see in the mirror. It’s not a 401(k) or a month’s paid vacation, but as fringe benefits go, this one’s a doozey. I’m not complaining! I’ll take it.